Australian twenty-dollar note

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Twenty Dollars
Value 20 Australian dollars
Width 144 mm
Height 65 mm
Security features Window, Watermark
Paper type Polymer
Years of printing 1994–1998, 2002-2003, 2005-2008, 2010, 2013
Australian $20 polymer front.jpg
Design Mary Reibey
Designer Garry Emery
Design date 31 October 1994
Australian $20 polymer back.jpg
Design John Flynn
Designer Garry Emery
Design date 31 October 1994

The Australian twenty-dollar banknote was issued when the currency was changed from the Australian pound to the Australian dollar on 14 February 1966.[1] It replaced the £10 note which had the same orange colouration. There have been only two different issues of this denomination: a paper note which had a gradient of yellow and red, with a distinct orange background, and a polymer note which can be recognised for its distinct red-orange colouration. The polymer note was issued on 31 October 1994.[2]

According to Reserve Bank statistics, at the end of June 2007 there was a net value of $2,846 million in $20 notes in circulation representing 7.1% of the cash value of all issued notes. Actual banknotes in circulation account for 15.8% of all denominations, or 142.3 million banknotes.[3] As of June 2014, 155 million $20 notes were in circulation, 12% of the total notes in circulation; worth $3,101 million, or 5% of the total value for all denominations.[4]

Since the start of issuance there have been 14 signature combinations, of which the 1967 issue is of the greatest value, issued for one year only; and the 1989 Pillip/Fraser being issued for less than a year.

From 1966-1974 the main title identifying the country was Commonwealth of Australia, there were 146,960,000 notes issued in its life. This was subsequently changed to Australia until the end of the issuance of paper currency for this denomination in 1994 with 1,661,970,048 of these notes being issued.


Reverse with Lawrence Hargrave.

The people depicted on the paper note issue were Sir Charles Kingsford Smith on the obverse along with five Lissajous curves drawn by a two-pendulum harmonograph, and Lawrence Hargrave on the reverse with his drawings of kites and type aircraft designs.[1]

The polymer note features Mary Reibey on the obverse with an early colonial building and sailing ship including her signature. John Flynn is on the reverse with features of the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia of a De Havilland DH.50 biplane Victory supplied by Qantas, medical instruments, Coledge Harland (the man on the camel), who was a missionary to the inland people of Australia. His signature is included. A compass is in the clear window with the raised 20 lettering.[5] These famous people are depicted against a definite red background. The note was designed by Garry Emery.[5]

Colouration is said to be either red or orange but has been debated many times over the years. Official documentation states that the colour of the twenty dollar note is red. This polymer note is occasionally colloquially referred to as a "Red Back" after the Australian spider species of the same name. This polymer note is also occasionally referred to as a Red Lobster and a Rusky (both terms pertaining to the red colouration of the note and that of a cooked Eastern Rock Lobster and of the Soviet flag).

Security features[edit]

The paper design included a watermark in the white field of Captain James Cook, the watermark was also used in the last issue of pound banknotes. A metallic strip, first near the centre of the note, then from 1976 moved to the left side on the obverse of the note. Polymer issue includes a watermark or clear imprint of the coat of arms which is printed over. Embossing or a raised image in the clear panel of the number 20. Also for this issue fluorescent colouring was added to the serial numbers, and a patch that shows the banknote's value. A star with four points on the obverse and three on the reverse which join under light. Raised print and micro printing of the denomination name are included.[5][6]


  1. ^ a b "The Reserve Bank and Reform of the Currency: 1960–1988, First decimal series". Museum of Australian Currency Notes. Reserve Bank of Australia. Retrieved 9 February 2015. 
  2. ^ "$20 BANKNOTE". Banknotes in Circulation. Reserve Bank of Australia. Retrieved 9 February 2015. 
  3. ^ Reserve bank statistics 2006/2007
  4. ^ "DISTRIBUTION-CIRCULATION AND PRODUCTION STATISTICS, AS AT END JUNE 2014". Reserve Bank of Australia. June 2014. Retrieved 9 February 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c "THE $20 BANKNOTE (interactive)". Banknote Features. Reserve Bank of Australia. Retrieved 9 February 2015. 
  6. ^ "List of Security Features". Counterfeit Detection. Reserve Bank of Australia. Retrieved 9 February 2015.